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2017-06-07 15:24:47   •   ID: 1609

A Bifacial Scraper from the Franconian Jura

Figure 1
This is a Bifacial Scraper made of flint (8 cm long) from an early 20th century collection of KMG- findings from the Franconian Jura. More about the KMG-Groups, which I still prefer to call Central European Micoquian Groups can be found here: 2016 , here 1726 , and here 1609 .

Bifacial Scraper are double-sided, bifacially retouched artifacts with elongated ovoid cross-section. Their working edge is carefully shaped on one or sometimes even on both sides.

Bifacial Scraper should be separated from Limaces, which are common in Quina Inventories. Limaces, unlike bifacial scrapers, have at least one, but more often two tips and are keeled on the dorsal surface (Bosinski 1967).

In the Late Jurassic, Southern Germany was part of the north-western Tethyan shelf. The marine epicontinental sediments are forming both the Swabian and the Franconian Alb (upland) and their forelands. The Upper Jurassic of Southern Germany is a classical area of paleontological and archaeological research since the 19th century.

Located between two rivers, the Danube in the south and the Main in the north, its peaks reach elevations of up to 600 meters and it has an area of some 7053.8 km2.

Figure 2
Many famous Middle Paleolithic sites  such as the Sesselfelsgrotte, the Klausennische and  the Abri I Schulerloch in the Altmühl Valley, the Hohle Stein at Schambach and the Steinerner Rosenkranz at Mörnsheim near Eichstaedt are located in this area.

In Central Europe, bifacial Tools are one component of ensembles, that are called "Micoquian" or "KMG-groups", although mostly in rather low quantities.

Bifacial scrapers are one constant element of such ensembles in Germany like Königsaue and Neumark- Nord 2/0 (Saxony-Anhalt), Gamsenberg/Oppurg (Thuringia), Salzgitter-Lebenstedt and Lichtenberg (Lower Saxony), the Balve Cave in Westphalia and the many sites in Würtenberg and Bavaria (for example the Bocksteinschmiede in the Lohne Valley or the Heidenschmiede at the Brenz).

The chronological position of leaf-shaped scrapers within the last glacial depends on whether one supports a "long" or "short" chronology of the Micoquian in Central Europe. Here the main exponents of the different positions are O. Jöris and D. Mania vs. J. Richter.

Proponents of a long duration, place the beginning of bifacial diagnostic tools rather early, at least to MIS5,while proponents of a late (MIS3) chronology reject this observation.

Geographically, leaf shaped scraper are found in the Northern European lowlands and in the low mountain zone further south.

In eastern Central Europe leaf-shaped scrapers are rarer but they occur in bifacial inventories even in the Eastern European plains and in some Crimean (Marks and Chabaï 1998, Marks and Monigal 1999).

In France, however, an abundance of such artifacts is found in Normandy at the extensive open air sites with a strong bifacial component, sometimes called: “Moustérien à petits bifaces dominants”.

About the Bifacial Mousterian in N/W-Franc see here: 1179 , here: 1665 , here: 1250 , here: 1585 , and here: 1077

Microtraceological studies on such tools are rare, but the limited data base suggests, that carcasse defleshing and removing subcutaneous fatty tissue of fur by scraping were important issues in their use.

Within this context, the G stratigraphic complex ("G-Komplex") of the Sesselfelsgrotte  yielded one of the longest cultural sequences of late Central European Middle Paleolithic bifacial industries during MIS3.

As remarked above it remains debatable, if pre-MIS3 KMG- inventories were present in Central Europe and if these bifacial assemblages were the expression of a distinct socio-cultural behaviour and identity of Middle / East European Neanderthals or not.

Surfing the Blog: About the Middle European Micoquian / KMG: 1631 , here 2016 ,here: 1270 and here: 1726 .

Suggested Reading:

S. Krukowski: Prehistoria ziem Polskich I. Kraków; 1939.

S. Veil: Ein mittelpaläolithischer Fundplatz aus der Weichselkaltzeit bei Lichtenberg, Lkr. Lüchow-Danneberg.;1994

G. Freund. Das Paläolithikum der Oberneder-Höhle - Ldkr. Kelheim-Donau; 1987

G. Bosinski und R Wetzel: Die Bocksteinschmiede im Lonetal; 1969

G. Bosinski: mittelpaläolithischen Funde im westlichen Mitteleuropa, 1967

K. Günter: Alt- und mittelsteinzeitliche Fundplätze in Westfalen, Teil 1 + Teil 2; 1986, 1988

K. Günther: Die altsteinzeitlichen Funde der Balver Höhle. Bodenaltertümer Westfalens 8. Münster; 1964

J. Richter J: Sesselfelsgrotte III. Der G-Schichten-Komplex der Sesselfelsgrotte; 1997

A.E. Marks and V.P. Chabaï (eds): The Middle Paleolithic of Western Crimea, vol. 1; 1998

A.E. Marks and K. Monigal (eds): The Middle Paleolithic of Western Crimea, vol. 2; 1999

Kozlowski S (2006) Wylotne and Zwierzyniec: Paleolithic Sites in Southern Poland 2009

D. Mania and V. Toepfer: Königsaue. Band 26 von Veröffentlichungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte in Halle; 1973